Sevilla’s best-kept secret is being hidden behind nothing more than a fence covered with plastic sheeting. And needless to say, it has done little to prevent hundreds of visitors to the 17th-century Real Alcázar palace in the Andalusian capital from sneaking a peek at the Gardens of the Ladies, where part of the fifth series of HBO series Game of Thrones is currently being filmed.
Eight trucks – the first of a total of 40 – that brought costumes and sets for the fantasy drama series based on George R.R. Martin’s cycle of novels A Song of Ice and Fire, set in a mythical kingdom permanently at war, have been parked since Monday in the Murillo Gardens next to the Alcázar, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has been sealed off to the public. Two large tents have been erected in the gardens, which are being used as a canteen and for storing costumes.
HBO is working hard to prevent anybody from accessing the set of what has proved to be its most successful series ever, and is determined that none of the storylines to the fifth series leak out. When filming begins this weekend, the entire palace complex and gardens will be closed to the public.
They will only use a small part of the palace and the gardens, but they have chosen to close the entire area off to prevent anybody from finding out what they are up to. “What’s more, they are working with live sound recording, which could be difficult if part of the palace is left open to visits,” said a spokesman for the Alcázar, which receives more than 1.2 million visitors a year.
They love the architecture and the complex, and so aren’t going to change anything”
The source said that he did not know which parts of the palace would be used for filming: “They love the architecture and the whole complex, and so aren’t going to change anything. They will just use some plants to cover cables, lights, or anything else out of place.”
Around 50 people, among them lighting and sound engineers, gardeners and extras were taking part in rehearsals on Monday. No information is available about which actors are taking part in the shoot. Some 250 actors and extras are expected to be used during filming. Larger outdoors sequences are being shot in nearby Osuna during the last two weeks of October using more than a thousand extras.
Carlos Rosado, head of the Andalusia Film Commission, highlights the importance of the shoot: “It’s not so much about the economic impact, as the image of confidence in the Spanish technicians and teams that will be transmitted to the international audiovisual sector.”
So far, there have been no complaints from visitors to the Real Alcázar about the disruption caused by the filming: “The majority of people are delighted about Game of Thrones being here,” said an official at the palace complex.
Betsy Henkel, a US national visiting Seville for the first time, said: “I watch the show at home, and now I am photographing the gardens so that I can identify which bits have been used for filming.”